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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 3

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Editor
3rd April, 2019
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We’re two weeks into the 2019 AFL season, but just about every game has given us more questions than answers. Hopefully, this is the week things start to make sense, but I suspect I’m not the only one who thinks the competitive balance is still very much in flux.

A three-way tie last week saw myself, Daniel Jeffrey and AdelaideDocker ‘top’ the standings with scores of four, while Marnie Cohen and The Crowd managed only three.

Fingers crossed we all get close to double those numbers this week.

Stirling Coates
Geelong, Melbourne, GWS, Sydney, Collingwood, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Fremantle
Friday night’s match between the Bombers and Demons certainly wasn’t supposed to be a cellar-dwellar duel, but that makes the game even more interesting. Both sides have absolutely crumbled so far under the weight of pre-season expectation, making it impossible to feel confident either way.

Melbourne, however, enjoy a reasonably good record against the Dons, having won six of their previous nine encounters. Even the doldrum days (which technically include the present), the Dees have been able to steal some memorable upsets over the boys from Windy Hill, so I’ll back them to do it again here.

Christian Petracca

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Saturday night gives us two mouth-watering matches that could go either way. The grand final rematch is an obvious standout, with West Coast’s clinical dismantling of GWS putting them right back in contention for this one.

The Eagles have taken out the two most recent MCG clashes between these sides, but Collingwood have the better fortnight of form coming in, so they get my tip.

The other match that night is what really has me excited. How good is it to have Brisbane versus Port Adelaide as a top-four clash on a Saturday night again? Time to bust out the Nokias, get frosted tips and blast Sandstorm like it’s 2003.

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Hopefully fans pack out The Gabba like they used to as well, because I’ve got the Lions going 3-0 for the first time since 2010 (or 2004 if the fans have scrubbed that year from memory).

Tonight’s round-opener should see Geelong continue their frightening start to the year with a win over the Crows. It’s early days, but Chris Scott sure is making a meal of this ‘down’ year.

Saturday’s afternoon matches should see the Giants, in the comfortable surrounds of home, take care of a suddenly undermanned Richmond side, while Sydney – despite not deserving any tips – will get mine against the Blues.

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Sunday should see the Western Bulldogs continue their smart start to the year with a hard-fought win over the Suns, and the Hawks will be able to rebound from last week’s shocker with a win over the Kangaroos. I don’t trust St Kilda’s interstate record enough to see them knocking off Fremantle.

I’ve already had one Shoe-In of the Week go astray after those Dockers wet the bed against Gold Coast on Sunday, so I’m hesitant to go around again.

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As a Gen-Y journalist, however, my contractual obligation to include a Simpsons reference in any work I produce means I’m going to pin the tail on the Western Bulldogs’ donkey this week.

shoe in of the week

Marnie Cohen
Adelaide, Melbourne, GWS, Sydney, West Coast, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Fremantle
This is the first time in over ten years I have done footy tipping, and that’s evident in my form so far. However, I suspect I am not alone, with 2019 already providing plenty of surprises two rounds in.

You simply cannot tip your team every week and take it seriously… at least if you’re a North Melbourne supporter. Their last two weeks have been dreadful and despite showing glimpses of that 2019 improvement many expected, it’s been no more than a tease. I’m struggling to pinpoint our potential first win of the season and while I hope it could be this weekend, I doubt it. Hawthorn will respond after their final quarter brain fade against the Dogs.

I’ve been red hot on the Cats in the opening two weeks of the season but I’ve gone for the Crows to get the win at home this weekend. After losing at the Adelaide Oval in Round 1, the Crows will be desperate to get the four points in front of a home crowd.

As will Brisbane, who are aiming to end Port’s unbeaten run while continuing their own. In the past, regardless of where the Lions have finished on the ladder, they’ve been tough to beat at home and if Lachie Neale repeats his Round 2 performance, the Lions will be 3-0.

Lachie Neale

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The two bottom sides face off on Friday night and I’m tipping Melbourne simply because I believe they’re better. Simple.

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Despite being red-hot outfit at home last season, the Tigers struggled as soon as they stepped on a plane. The flight factor, combined with their ordinary performance against Collingwood last week, fills me with little confidence in their chances against the Giants.

Both grand finalists started their 2019 in similar fashion and head into the rematch 1-1. The Eagles, once again, will be too strong.

The Bulldogs’ opening couple of rounds have been enjoyable and their unbeaten start to the season will stretch out another week, and I expect Fremantle to finish the round off with a win.

Daniel Jeffrey
Geelong, Melbourne, GWS, Sydney, Collingwood, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Fremantle
Alrighty, we’re on the upward trend! If I keep improving at last week’s rate, it’ll be perfect nines from Round 7 onwards. One can dream, right?

Geelong are setting the pace with some ominous early-season form, although their wins have come against sides below their best. Is that because of the Cats or just a happy coincidence? We’ll find out in the next few weeks, but either way, Geelong look good enough to get the job done over Adelaide.

The loser of Essendon-Melbourne can kiss their finals chances goodbye, so hopefully those consequences spur a gripping context. The Demons should be able get back on track the quicker of the two sides and record their first win of the season on Friday night.

The Giants weren’t as bad as the scoreboard suggested in Perth last week. With Richmond hit hard by injuries, they’ll move to 2-1 after a win over the Tigers, before Sydney should break their season duck against the Blues. I say that with no confidence, though. There’s every chance Carlton pull a repeat of 2017 and keep the Swans winless.

In fact, I have so little faith in Sydney’s gameplan at the moment that I’m going to change my tip. Blues by a whisker.

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Collingwood come into Saturday night’s grand final replay off a nice long recovery and in ominous form – not that the Eagles were bad last week. But the Magpies midfield will be far more incisive with their inside 50s than what GWS dished up against West Coast, and that’ll make the difference. Collingwood in a ripper.

Collingwood West Coast

(Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images)

I didn’t think either of the Lions or Power would be a chance of going 3-0 when the season started. Now we’re in that scenario, it’s Brisbane at home who look more capable of extending their perfect start.

The Bulldogs should also keep their flawless record going against the Suns, Hawthorn will be too good for the Kangaroos, and the Saints and Dockers have me tossing every coin in my wallet to try to find a winner. Fremantle to get the victory, but only because they’re back on home soil.

AdelaideDocker
Adelaide, Melbourne, GWS, Sydney, Collingwood, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Fremantle
The Cats have been one of the best teams in the competition so far. Adelaide were great last week, too, which makes this a tough tip. I fancy the Crows at home, but Geelong’s form has been fantastic. Ugh. Tough pick, but I’ll go with Adelaide. Hesitantly.

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Saturday’s chock full of interesting encounters, including what sounds like a bit of a fizzer: Carlton hosting Sydney. The Swans haven’t been particularly good this year, while Carlton’s looked impressive at times without winning. If there’s ever a time for the Blues to beat the Swans, this is probably it, but I can’t sacrifice another tip to a risk, so I’ll go with Sydney.

I’ll also back another NSW side to win later that day: GWS should beat Richmond, who haven’t looked convincing at all and have now lost a second prominent player to injury.

Brisbane’s a bit of a risky pick, but a worthwhile one: Port looked rusty against the Blues, and the Lions will have a busy Gabba behind them to make it three in a row. Collingwood will also defeat West Coast in the grand final replay, although I’m not at all confident in that tip.

Sunday’s fixtures are a little easier to pick. Expect the Dogs to beat the Suns, despite the latter’s recent victory, Hawthorn should smash a winless North, and Fremantle will bounce back against the Saints (although who knows with Freo).

You’ll also notice I haven’t mentioned Friday’s clash. The less said the better: Melbourne will poach a win in what will be a terrible game.

Round 3 Stirling Marnie Daniel AdelaideDocker The Crowd
ADE vs GEE GEE ADE GEE ADE GEE
MEL vs ESS MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL
GWS vs RCH GWS GWS GWS GWS GWS
CAR vs SYD SYD SYD CAR SYD SYD
COL vs WCE COL WCE COL COL COL
BL vs PA BL BL BL BL BL
WB vs GCS WB WB WB WB WB
HAW vs NM HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW
FRE vs STK FRE FRE FRE FRE FRE
Last week 4 3 4 4 3
Total score 8 7 7 9 7
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